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There is no specific rule to determine the desired distance between reinforced concrete columns. Factors like architectural considerations, function of the building, and the structure’s load play a significant role in determining an optimum span between two reinforced concrete columns.

Architectural engineers often fancy the largest possible distance, whereas structural engineers are concerned about the building’s safety and economy. Sometimes, structural and architectural engineers compromise based on their needs, but it is important to ensure that the building’s function does not change. There are cases when there is no scope for any changes in the architectural plans; hence structural engineers cannot provide any suggestions regarding the plan of the building.

Generally, the increase in the distance between reinforced concrete columns would require an increase in beam depth and sometimes the dimensions of the columns. So, the designer should select a spacing that results in optimum sizes for beams and columns. Improper column spacing causes poor utilization of spacing inside the building.

Distance between Columns
Figure-1: Distance between Columns

What are the Factors Controlling the Distance Between RCC Columns?

  1. There is no definite rule for determining the distance between two reinforced concrete columns.
  2. The load of the structure plays a crucial role and may impose specific maximum spacing. Sometimes, the client has a demand for a particular measure of spacing.
  3. Generally, architectural engineers specify the spacing between two columns based on the function of the building.
  4. Architectural engineers want to have the largest possible spacing for aesthetic reasons, whereas structural engineers are concerned about the structure’s integrity.
  5. Increasing the spacing between columns leads to an increase in the cost of the building because the increase of span of columns requires an increase in beam depth and column dimension to support larger loads. Consequently, larger columns and beams are required to withstand the imposed loads.
  6. It is better to arrange columns in a grid pattern.
  7. The distance between two reinforced columns ranges between 3-4 m for small buildings and 6-9 m for sizable facilities where large columns and free spaces are required.
  8. For ordinary structures, a distance of 5 m is appropriate, and the maximum span is 7.5, while the minimum is 2.5 m.
  9. It should be known that any distance between two columns can be used, provided that the structure’s safety and integrity are not endangered. If a designer wants to set a long span between columns, and the load is large, the column’s size needs to be increased to cope with such imposed load.

FAQs

What are the criteria influencing the estimation of the distance between two reinforced concrete columns?

1- Loads of the structure
2- Architectural Considerations
3- Function of the building

What is the maximum and minimum distance between reinforced concrete columns?

The maximum span between columns for normal structures is 7.5 m and minimum spacing is 2.5 m.

How does the increase in the distance between columns affect the cost of the structure?

Increasing the span between reinforced concrete columns increase the cost of the structure.

What is reinforced concrete column?

Columns are vertical structural elements in a structure that are designed to withstand vertical loads. They are one of the critical members upon which the safety and integrity of the structure is based on.

Is there a definite maximum limit on the distance between columns?

Any distance between two columns can be considered if the beams and columns are designed properly and the integrity and safety of the structure is maintained.

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